As reported by the HeraldMailMedia The Martinsburg Police Department invoked the city's drug-house ordinance last week in taking action against four property owners whose properties were involved in "serious drug-related criminal activity."
Uninformed on this subject and admit to not owning any rentals in WV or anywhere, so I have no dogs in this fight, but this ordinance just sounds bad..
Will Martinsburg rental properties see substantial rate increases due to this ordinance? If landlords somehow become responsible for tenants drug or crime activities then rents must go way up.. right?
Martinsburg obviously thinks this is an effective approach to dealing with the drugs in our neighboring properties. The problem with this, possibly unconstitutional ordinance, is that Martinsburg city officials are trying to hold law-abiding property owners accountable for other peoples illegal actions.
Most drug-abuse comes from prescription drugs.. so do all landlords now need access to everyone's prescription records to know if they might use drugs.. like the police do? This is completely ridiculous. If someone is breaking the law.. then the POLICE should arrest them. Problem solved.
It is understood that property owners need to do their part in making sure a tenant is a good "tenant", but at what point does making sure someone is obeying the law become the property owners responsibility? I mean if one property owner evicts someone due to drugs or possible drug use, where are they going to go? To another property!
Same problem all over again!
However, if the local "law enforcement" just did their job and arrested law breakers, and punish the culprit by the standards established in current law, it removes the problem from the streets! An attempt to pass-the-buck on law enforcement's responsibility. And collect additional monies from legal law-abiding property owners just because they can?
What do you think?
Will/should this cause rents to go up for everyone?
Would these additional financial burdens placed on landlords be best absorbed by an industry rate increase?
Should landlords in localities with these type of ordinances add a 'surcharge fee' of 20% to every rental agreement to cover the additional expense, risk and liability?
How can anyone ever be sure there is no one in a home they rent out doing some sort of drugs? Do landlords have to monitor each lessee (and their family members) monthly to make sure they have not been arrested for drugs or been to a doctor?
Maybe while those-in-charge are at it they should require landlords to do monthly urine screening on all current lessee's? Sad, but I am sure there is someone in that group that does think that would be a good idea as well..
Where does this all end...